What do Google’s AI Overviews mean for businesses?

ai overview

In the digital world developments are always being undertaken. One of the more recent developments expected to roll out worldwide by the end of the year is Google’s AI Overviews. These will change the way that results are displayed on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and may alter Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) practices. But what do Google’s AI Overviews mean for businesses? And what do you need to know to be prepared?

What are AI overviews?

So first of all, what exactly are these AI Overviews? Well these are a new type of search result that are similar to the existing Featured Snippets, being displayed at the top of search results to provide a quick and efficient answer to a particular question. However, while Featured Snippets pull a concise and relevant answer from one website or source, AI Overviews are written by AI, by combining information from multiple sources to give the best possible answer to the search query. The answer provided is generated using Google’s Gemini LLM (large language model), drawing on different content from different websites, and citing these websites in links underneath.

Why is Google generating AI answers?

There are a number of different reasons why Google has moved in this direction, including:

Adapting to a change in search methods- with more people using AI tools like chatgpt and voice assistants for search queries, this type of concise answer is becoming more common and is something that searchers are responding positively to, continuing to use these alternatives search methods more frequently. This is particularly true with the younger demographic, who want a direct answer to a question without having to sift through different websites to find it.

Improving the user experience – not only is this type of search result providing Google users with the type of result they want to see, it is also improving the user experience. AI Overviews provide concise and informative answers that are backed by different sources to give users exactly what they want.

Easy links- being met with a whole page of search results for a simple question can be overwhelming but sometimes more information is needed. AI Overviews allow Google to provide the best of both worlds by accurately citing the website sources, allowing searchers to click on the links included to find out more details for themselves.

Are Google AI Overviews working well?

As with all newly developed technologies, there have been some instances so far where these AI Overviews have not been particularly helpful. For example, one recipe Overview included the use of glue for a cheese pizza, while another stated that Barack Obama is a Muslim, and another told searchers to eat one rock every day. Google responded that it was scaling back the use of Overviews in response to these errors, but it does raise some pertinent questions, including:

Will Google take ownership of the AI generated information if this proves to be wrong or misleading, or will the original content face penalties?

How does this relate to Google’s stance on AI generated content for websites, and their own guidelines regarding helpful content?
Will AI Overviews be fact checked in future?

The answers to these questions will I’m sure be discovered in the near future, but Google already has a plan for the future of AI Overviews, with future developments in the works.

What is planned for the future of AI Overviews?

So what exactly do Google have planned for the future of AI Overviews? Well, several things have been discussed, including:

Adjusting your AI Overviews – whether you’re just looking for a surface level of answer, or you want the full breakdown, searchers will be able to adjust the AI Overviews to meet their requirements.

Asking complex questions – while it doesn’t seem like too long ago that we were using specific search language to conduct Google searches, with as few words as possible, Google’s future updates to AI Overviews plan to allow searchers to ask complex questions all at once, instead of needing to break this up into smaller segments.

Showing AI organised results- Google plans to personalise your search experience even further by using AI to organise the results on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) to meet your requirements and provide a better experience overall.

Will AI Overviews alter SEO?

So, now that we’ve fully covered AI Overviews, it’s time to consider how this will impact SEO, and businesses in particular. For SEO in general AI Overviews may have a number of different impacts, including:

Changing the SERP- it’s clear that even in its current, simplest form, AI Overviews will have a significant impact on the SERP as a whole. This means that ranking positionings may change, with the organic search results that are not included in the AI Overview being bumped further down the page, below paid results. This can have a subsequent negative impact on your website traffic and click through rates. However, if your content is selected as part of the AI Overview, the links included in the answer, will still drive traffic to your website.

Altering SEO practices – right now content is an important part of SEO, allowing a diverse range of keywords to be targeted through different pieces of content, all of which relevant to your business and audience. With the change that AI Overviews are bringing, content creation practices and SEO strategies may need to change.

Can Google’s AI Overviews bring benefits for your business?

ai overviews

So what do Google’s AI Overviews mean for businesses?

So, overall, what do these changes and developments mean for your business, when it comes to succeeding online? Well, as discussed above, these changes have the potential to bring benefits to your business, but without the right preparation, you may notice some negative impacts on your click through rate, or the amount of traffic your website receives. As such, there are a number of steps that your business can continue to take to stay on top of these latest developments. These include:

Building your brand- it’s important to build your own brand identity, improving your online authority with top quality, original content, customer or client reviews, and good SEO practices.

Creating great quality content – at its core, AI Overviews are all about content, and getting the right content to the searcher. This has always been an essential component of Google’s model, shown throughout the various algorithm changes over the years. As such, creating original, helpful and informative content is still the best way to keep your business thriving in the SERP results.

For more information or advice about your SEO strategy in light of changing algorithms and AI Overviews, we are the experts for you here at Pumpkin Web Design. Why not get in touch with Preston’s leading web design, SEO, and digital marketing experts today to find out more?

Pumpkin Web Design Ltd is a small and highly results driven digital agency working for like minded clients in Preston, Chorley, Southport, Blackburn, Burnley, Morecambe,Wigan, Manchester, London, Warrington, Blackpool, Lancaster, Leyland, Lytham St Annes, Bolton, Chester and the UK. Our services include web design, SEO, content marketing, video production, brand design and much more.